CHI Provides a Bright Future for Youth Volunteers and Interns

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Campodonico watches closely as Dr. Amofah discusses a patient’s care during an appointment.

From an early age, Vanessa Campodonico knew that she always wanted to be a doctor. Interning at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) this summer marked a step toward becoming the well-rounded doctor she always dreamed of becoming.

“I have shadowed at a big hospital before,” she said. “Today, I get to see the difference between a hospital and a smaller community health center.”

Vanessa is one of three youth volunteers and interns who had the opportunity to shadow CHI’s Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Saint Anthony Amofah for a day. These interns aspire to work in the healthcare field and were excited to have a practical look into the career of a family medicine physician. They also were among several other volunteers who joined CHI this summer for hands-on learning and a deeper understanding of diverse healthcare roles. Interns and volunteers had the chance to work and learn in a variety of departments including patient services, pharmacy, event planning, clerical services and more.

(From left to right) Aixya Montaya, Dr. Amofah, Natalie Calvo and Vanessa Campodonico pose for a photo at the Doris Ison Health Center.

Natalie Calvo and Aixa Montaya joined Vanessa on their day with Dr. Amofah. It started with a team huddle in the morning. This is a time when CHI providers are briefed on the day’s schedule, get up to speed on the patients of the day and create team plans for care. The interns were treated to the full clinical experience, actively participating alongside Dr. Amofah, and absorbing his approach to medical practice. Individually, they were provided with the opportunity to observe a patient appointment, learning important procedures under Dr. Amofah’s guidance. He expressed the importance of developing great customer service skills and treating patients with kindness.

“The most important thing is that patients need our help,” he said. “We owe it to them to be extraordinarily nice. You have to make sure they feel good!”

Each intern had a one-on-one with Dr. Amofah while reviewing patient charts before appointments. They reviewed patients’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels. During this time, they shared with him their goals and what they hoped to take from the day’s experience. Montaya, who is currently a senior at a local collegiate high school, dreams of one day being an emergency room physician.

“I have wanted to work in medicine since I was young,” she said. “My current goal is to graduate with my associate degree and get my high school diploma. From there, go to college and go to medical school.”

By the end of the day, the interns gained valuable perspectives into the routine schedules of a family medicine provider. These experiences will significantly influence their career making decisions moving forward. Dr. Amofah was thrilled to play a role in the process.

The 2023 youth volunteers and interns are all smiles on the final day of this year’s summer program.

“My favorite part of this experience is seeing the eagerness in their faces, knowing the potential that they have and knowing that I can provide support and encouragement,” he said. “Whatever we can do or say that will give them a sense of confidence, I love that!